Language/library updates

F# PowerPack

There is a beta out of the F# PowerPack that adds some very useful functionality to F#, notably Matrix types and other math-related enhancements. I think that this may make it easy to build a vector search engine in F#.

Tools and products

Expression Studio 4 released

Microsoft has released Expression Studio 4. Tim Heuer has a good summary of the new features, and Somasegar has a list of some of his favorite features in the release.

I really love Expression Web, but I haven’t used the other products much. One of these days I’ll have the time to give Silverlight and Blend a closer look.

Engine Yard announces xCloud

Engine Yard has put together a new cloud offering for running Ruby applications called xCloud. xCloud is more configurable than its existing AppCloud offering; it allows customers to tweak the performance profile.

Appistry’s CloudIQ Storage available

Appistry announced that its CloudIQ Storage product is now available. It is also available in a Hadoop Edition.

Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tools

Microsoft has released a package of great little tools called Productivity Power Tools to make using Visual Studio 2010 just a little bit nicer.

Deep Syncfusion discounts

Syncfusion is offering some deep discounts until June 25 on license bundles. I’ve used the Syncfusion components, and I like them a lot.

Rally Unlimited Edition

Rally Software has released its latest offering, Rally Unlimited Edition. It builds on Enterprise Edition to add even more features. It is priced at $49/user/month.

Kalido Data Governance Director

Kalido has announced a new product called Data Governance Director to be released in Q4 2010. This new product is designed to help companies manage their data governance policies.

Editorial and commentary

iOS development by the numbers

Steve Jobs is trying to convince folks that developing for the iOS ecosystem is a financial winner. (iOS is the new name for the OS that runs iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.) His numbers, though, only appeal to those who are mathematically challenged.

Jobs claims that $1 billion has been paid to app developers, and he says that there are 250,000 apps out there. That comes out to a paltry $4,000 per app. Sounds like a lot? Not exactly. Four grand is decent money if you spend a few nights and weekends on it, or if you are monetizing a labor of love; it certainly isn’t “quit my day job money” even if the day job is flipping burgers.

Apple is about to sell the 100 millionth device; this means that each iOS device generates a “whopping” $10 for app developers. Wee. Who cares how many iOS users have their credit cards stored and ready to spend, when they are spending a mere $10 on apps per device? Oh, and the $60 million in ad inventory doesn’t look so impressive when you realize that it is less than $1 per device.

These figures numbers may impress some of the so-called analysts out there, but I can do enough basic math to know better.

Speaking of iPhone development…

So, it looks like AT&T is no longer offering unlimited data plans (existing plans will be grandfathered). CNET has a good piece about how this will affect developers.

Let’s get real, this is a desperate move by AT&T to save its network from the damage the iPhone has done to it. AT&T took a shaky network to begin with, added a device that is filled with ways to suck down bandwidth, and then offered unlimited data plans after customers started getting phone bills in the thousands of dollars. The end result is the network is overloaded, and the only reason to be on AT&T is for the iPhone.

So what do they do? Return to the capped data plans, hoping that they can still make money selling iPhones, no longer have their network falling apart under the burden, and maybe get the system decent enough to get some momentum behind their non-iPhone handsets as the sun starts to set on their exclusive deal with Apple.

Here’s my take: Developers for iPhone devices will need to switch between high bandwidth and low bandwidth modes on the iPhone (they should be doing this anyway) if their apps use a lot of bandwidth; the iPhone looks even less attractive as a platform for development; and AT&T will have a PR nightmare on its hands on July 25th when new customers for the iPhone 4 get their first bill, and YouTube is filled with videos of customers unwrapping 200-page bills with a total sticker price in the thousands.

IE 9 aces compatibility tests?

The May IE 9 preview has a 100% pass rate on 192 tests, beating every other browser out there. However, 192 tests aren’t exactly the whole kit and caboodle when it comes to Web compatibility. Right now, a lot of folks are focused on the Acid3 test, which is only 100 tests, and IE 9 does not do well on it either (although it is much better than IE 8). All the same, it is good to see IE making progress, and we can only hope that it continues to try to catch up to its competitors.

Google Maps lawsuit details

Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan has a good write up on the Google Maps lawsuit that has been making headlines. When I first heard about this case, I thought it was ridiculous. While I still think it is superfluous, reading this article made me think twice about things. It’s definitely an important case because it will tell us just how responsible a court or a jury may find us for the operation of our applications.

Microsoft looking for RIA feedback

Microsoft is asking RIA developers (of any sort) for feedback to help the company with Silverlight development. Microsoft is offering complimentary products as a token of thanks.

Does Silverlight 4 make WPF useless?

Brian Noyes has an interesting comparison between Silverlight 4 and WPF to show why Silverlight doesn’t make WPF a dead tech yet. Something he touches on, but does not really flesh out, are the 20% of API items that Silverlight lacks and why they are so important. The lack of things like threading are great examples of why Silverlight can’t be a full replacement for desktop applications yet.

Tips and tricks

Windows 7 task bar programming

Alessandro Del Sole has a series on MSDN showing how to work with the Windows 7 task bar using WPF. In the first installment in the series, he discusses the thumbnail buttons.

Changing the Silverlight startup class

If you want to change which class is used to enter a Silverlight app, Mike Snow has a tutorial on changing it.

Combining parallelism and WPF

Alexandra Rusina wrote a good article on how to use parallelism in .NET 4, and make it play nicely with a WPF UI.

.NET obfuscation concepts

Eran Dror has written an article that explains three common techniques for obfuscating .NET code. While I remain unconvinced of the need for obfuscation in general, I did find the article interesting.

IntelliTrace with Azure

Somasegar shows you how to use IntelliTrace with Windows Azure. IntelliTrace is great, and I wish Microsoft had it in lower levels of Visual Studio.

SortedSet<T> vs. HashSet<T>

Bill Wagner’s article about the performance of SortedSet<T> compared to HashSet<T> is a good read. It also has a nice, shortcut introduction to Big O notation.


Eclipse DemoCamps

There will be a series of DemoCamps showing how people use Eclipse, including the upcoming Helios version. The DemoCamps are being held around the world over the next few months.

Helios in Action – Online

If you want to learn more about the upcoming Helios release of Eclipse, there will be an online virtual conference on June 24, 2010.

Helios Blogathon

If you do a write up of the upcoming Helios project, you can get a free T-shirt, and one person will get a pass to EclipseCon 2011 or Eclipse Summit Europe 2010. This might be some added encouragement for me to try out Helios!

Eclipse Embedded Day

If you are working with Eclipse to write embedded applications, you might want to try to get to Eclipse Embedded Day in Stuttgart, Germany. The event is on June 24, 2010.

OSI Days 2010

Open Source India (OSI) Days will be taking place on September 19 -21, 2010 in Chennai, India. It is a massive open source related event, and it will have a large number of presentations of interest to developers.


Disclosure of Justin’s industry affiliations: Justin James has a contract with Spiceworks to write product buying guides; he has a contract with OpenAmplify, which is owned by Hapax, to write a series of blogs, tutorials, and articles; and he has a contract with OutSystems to write articles, sample code, etc.


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